Needs Assessment

Initial Visit

Preparation:

  • Initiated contact with the village school and started getting data.

  • Communicated with the village that we were coming.

  • Setup formal meetings with the school, parents and village officials in two schools.

1stSchool:

Shree Tribhuvan Ma.Vi., Word No. 2, Chhinamakhu

  • Observation of living conditions as well as informal meetings; discussing pressing issues with students, parents, and teachers.

  • Organizing formal meetings with the teachers in 2 sets of meetings:

    • Introductory meeting to tell them about Thus Thought and determine their needs

    • Followed by 14 class observation/audit in different subjects from grade 1-10 taught by different sets of teachers.

    • Held 3 sets of meetings with students from grades 1-5, 6-8, and 9-10 to better understand the needs of the students.

    • Follow-up meeting with teachers to get their feedback and initial ideas.

    • Formal meeting with parents of top students, teachers, principles, and village officials.

2nd School:

Shree Saraswati Ni.Ma.Vi., Word No. 8, Rumala

  • 1 session with the teachers, principle, parents whose children were not regularly attending school.

Other Schools:

  • Visited 5 of the 8 schools to observe the conditions of the infrastructure and understand the distance between houses and schools.

  • At home met with a 1st grade student who attended private school to better understand the difference of resources such as materials and curriculum between public and private schools.

Student Home Life:

  • Worked with several different households to observe and understand the household activity such as chores and fieldwork that take student time.

Positive Deviance:

  • Worked with the different elements of the village from students to teachers, to differences in home life in order to discover traces of positive deviance.

  • Analyzed why some students perform better than others. What are the parents doing differently than other parents? What are students doing differently than other students?

Team Building and Organizing:

  • Determined which people in the village would be great to work with and engage with.

  • In Katmandu, brought together Chhinamakhu villagers who have migrated to Kathmandu to present the school needs and started the process of how Thus Thought can work together with them to address the needs identified.



Initial Visit Findings

Weak Foundation:

  • Students in all grades felt that they were weak in Math, Science, and English. These are the subjects that students usually fail in SLC examinations. Refer to Appendix C for information on student pass rate on SLC examination from 1992 to 2007. The average pass rate for 15 years is only 17%.

  • Both a confidence and knowledge issue.

  • Too much focus on imparting subject material from textbook.

  • Lacking other skill sets such as research, presentation, working in groups, thinking, creativity, self-directed learning, and civic duties.

  • The quality of the 8 schools were all different. When the students graduated from the 1-5 school and joined the main school, their knowledge level was not at the 6th grade level of the main school.

Lack of Rich Learning Environment:

  • Mostly using textbook and classroom lecture method.

  • Concepts such as Australian explorers, which they were learning in English, were far from the student learning schema. For example, learning about explorers with small, low-quality, black and white pictures in the textbook is not conducive learning the class material.

  • Even the teachers who are mostly local, have not traveled outside the village, find it hard to make the students understand such material.

Students Not Empowered:

  • There is no student organization or representation where they can utilize their leadership skills, organizing skills, working in teams, or have a voice in their education.

  • The student learning structure is “Top Down” rather than interactive in which students do not have the ability to give and receive feedback.

  • Students are not being utilized for responsible tasks such as library or computer lab supervision and management. For example, a teacher was in charge of opening the library but she does not have time in her day to open it. Therefore students only have access to the library once a week for an hour. Students could easily run this for little training and low supervision.

  • No student clubs based on their interests in which they can learn valuable tasks such as organizing, raising funds, or practicing English.

Student Life/Time:

  • Daily household chores. Amount of chores vary by family. Have to find time to study between their home chores and field work.

  • Distance from school can be up to 2 hours each way and still have to do their chores at home both before and after.

  • Certain seasons such as harvesting/planting time, the children have to do more work than usual.

  • Most parents are not actively involved in the students education. They send their children to school but they do not really follow up to their attendance and what they are learning at school.

  • In most cases the parents are illiterate, so they do not understand how much time the students need for their education as well as cannot assist with assignments and coursework.